I’ve read Joel on Software for a long while now, and while I’ve never read *everything* he has done, I’ve read enough to be quite a fan of his writing, and clear explanations and lucid, pragmatic views. A resource every software developer should read.
But his latest is simply outstanding. In Martian Headsets, he explains about web standards in a way that’s understandable, exact, balanced, and above all, entertaining. Lays out the reason why IE8, the next version of the predominant web browser in the world, is in a unique position to change the world (and I’m only slightly exaggerating), what issues confront the browser development team and why no matter what it does, it may not be able to correct the flaws compounded upon in years and years of web development.
At the heart, it discusses the decision that every developers will face at one point or another in their career: to do the right thing, or to make it work.
It’s fascinating reading, and may be the single best piece of technical exposition I have ever read on any subject in IT, much less web standards. Even if you’re not technically inclined, I’d recommend a read: you’ll learn about web standard, if nothing else.


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It’s articles like these that make me really excited about the future. I’m a huge proponent of mobile technology, about how the latest and greatest in the tech world will make us more connected, more enabled, but without the bulk that today’s laptops impose on us.
This article by Computerworld focuses on some concept notebooks, which is touch screen, soft keys, and light. I don’t think there will be a one device that does everything anytime soon, especially if we’re talking about the amalgamation of notebook and mobile phones, for instance, but the convergence continues to happen at a frantic pace. It will soon be silly to own a desktop computer – everything that stays in the house would be more like a server, and connected and controlled via the TV set in a home media setup. Actual computing work? On a laptop, of course!
Very interesting look in the future.


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Unfortunately, no. Not yet, by any means. But the audiobook is certainly headed that way, I’m happy to report. In this article from the New York Times, audiobook publishers are ditching piracy protection measures, known to you and me as one of the most notorious and feared 3-letter acronyms in the whole of cyberspace: DRM. Which stands for Digital Rights Management, of course.
Apparently they found that DRM doesn’t really work in curbing piracy. I could have told them that.
As I’ve mentioned before, DRM does not solve the problem it has set out to achieve, which is to control rampant piracy. Instead of creating a better, more-foolproof DRM, maybe it needs to be solved in a different manner – with a different mindset. Einstein said (I believe) that problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them. It has been proven many times over that DRM free works distributed on the internet actually helps sales, rather than hinder them, and it’s especially true for new emerging talents or works.
There still needs to be a way for artists and authors to make a living in the Internet age, and have their works protected. It is becoming increasing clear is isn’t going to be DRM.


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